Gradual sea ice reduction and reconfiguration of the coast, have increased the rate of erosion near Port Heiden over the course of several decades. Draining of Goldfish Lake brings memories, loss of community landmark, and many emotions.
Observation by Jaclyn Christensen:
Coastal erosion has been accelerating since climate change progressed rapidly over the last 15 years. Since then, our old village of Meshik has eroded completely from existence besides the current school, airport, and HUD housing locations. Goldfish Lake was the last landmark at the old town site that we can reference to the village's location. This day November 2, 2019, things will change for the community forevermore, and even so we are still here.
Comments from LEO Editors:
Gradual sea ice reduction and reconfiguration of the coast have increased the rate of erosion near Port Heiden over the course of several decades. During winter storms, the erosion was sometimes very extensive, with many meters of shoreline lost. For several years, residents have been waiting, knowing that some day the land supporting the Meshik road would fail and the lake would pour out into the bay. Now that it finally has, residents are exploring the new landscape revealed by draining and coming to terms with the loss of this important community feature.
The Native Village of Port Heiden has been very proactive, relocating buildings, recycling huge amounts of building materials, performing studies to record impacts, and preparing plans for adaptation. You can learn more about Port Heiden, climate change, and plans for the future in the report entitled, Climate Change in Port Heiden Alaska, Strategies for Community Health.
See also the short video entitled, Moving Meshik, to hear local voices and to see Goldfish Lake and old Meshik while parts of it still were standing.